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Prior to starting their course, all postgraduate students are expected to have arranged sufficient funding for the duration of their studies. It is possible, however, that you may encounter unforeseen financial difficulties during this time, and you may be eligible to apply for financial assistance. 

The Postgraduate Financial Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to postgraduate students in unforeseen financial need. The awards are intended to support students who would otherwise be unable to complete their research or study. The scheme is funded by the University and Trust Fund donations (the Lundgren Fund and Harry Desai Fund). 

Students are expected to have discussed their financial circumstances with their College Tutor before applying. 

Financial assistance is no longer available for thesis-binding costs as it is an expected course requirement. PhD students who require financial assistance with thesis-binding costs are advised to use the Cambridge SU thesis-binding service

Report on 2022/23 academic year 


These eligibility criteria should be considered in addition to the General Eligibility Principles and Guidance of the University's Financial Assistance Funds:

  • All registered postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge are eligible (with the exception of students studying ICE Non-Award bearing courses and Higher Doctorates), so long as they are experiencing unforeseen financial need. 
  • Students experiencing a collapse in funding early in their studies will have to show that the circumstances leading to their financial need are unforeseen. It is not within the remit of the Fund to provide support to students who did not have a sufficient financial plan in place from the outset. All students are advised at the start of their course to ensure sufficient funds are available for the full duration of their course and are required to sign a Financial Undertaking Form as detailed on the Postgraduate Admissions website
  • Assistance is not normally provided to PhD students beyond their fourth year as it is the expectation of the University that students submit their thesis within four years. 
  • If you are funded by the Cambridge Trust, please do not apply to the Fund. Please consult the guidance here: Support from your Funding Sponsor

How much support is available?

The Fund provides awards of up to £2,500 to assist students with living costs. 

How to apply 

Application form

Please ensure you complete the following steps before completing the application form:

  1. Talk to your Academic Supervisor about applying
  2. Talk to your College Tutor about applying (in the application form, you will be asked to confirm that this discussion has taken place before progressing to the questions in the form)
  3. Read the eligibility criteria above to ensure you are eligible
  4. Read the application guidance

Guidance for Academic Supervisors and College Tutors supporting student applications for financial assistance

Word copy of application form (to be used to draft your responses and share your application with your College Tutor before applying)

Applications which have been accompanied by your Academic Supervisor and College Tutor's support forms are reviewed in the month following application submission. 

Applications will be automatically withdrawn after 1 month if the Academic Supervisor and College Tutor's support forms have not been received. 

Applications for financial assistance may be made at any time during the academic year between 3 October 2023 and 31 August 2024 (this allows preparations for the next academic year to take place in September). 

Outcomes will normally be communicated by the end of the month following application submission. Please see the timetable below for when you should expect to receive the outcome of your application. Please do not contact the Team unless you have not received the outcome of your application by the month shown. 

Application submitted Application outcome
October 2023 November 2023
November 2023 December 2023
December 2023 January 2024
January 2024 February 2024
February 2024 March 2024
March 2024 April 2024
April 2024 May 2024
May 2024 June 2024
June 2024 July 2024
July 2024 August 2024
August 2024 September 2024


Please contact the Student Funding and Fee Policy Team using the email address if you have any questions about your eligibility and the application process.